In today’s world, sleep is often looked at as an option. There are so many things to keep the mind occupied and entertained, that getting enough sleep seems to have been put on the backburner. What most people do not realize is that this practice is robbing them of their longevity.
Sleep Affects Your Longevity
Much research has been done in sleep studies and many things have been learned. A key lesson is that there is a definite connection between getting enough sleep regularly and living longer. Without that sleep, your life will be cut short.
The amount of sleep needed for the most benefits of sleep appears to be a rather narrow window. Those who slept less than seven hours a night, and those who slept more than nine hours a night regularly, were more likely to experience all causes of death earlier in life. The recommended amount of sleep is eight hours, but women may need a little more.
Health Issues Caused by Too Little Sleep
The studies found that there are several health issues that too little sleep encourages. These things reveal the importance of sleep. It includes a 30 percent increased risk of dementia and an elevated risk of developing glucose metabolism – which could lead to diabetes and obesity.
People who get less than five hours of sleep a night are likely to have the shortest lifespan. They double their risk of cardiovascular disease. This disease is the primary cause of death in the U.S. Other problems resulting from insufficient sleep include high blood pressure, anxiety, stroke, and cancer.
Getting less than five hours of sleep each night will also increase the likelihood of becoming obese. The amount of the hormone that makes you feel full – leptin – is reduced by about 15 percent when you do not get enough sleep. At the same time, the hormone that makes you feel hungry is increased – ghrelin – making you want to eat more.
Sleep deprivation is also going to weaken your immune system. While this also naturally occurs as you get older, you do not need to speed up the process. A weaker immune system allows you to get serious diseases when exposed to a virus or bacteria – which is what often causes death in older people. When you sleep, your body produces cytokines, which help fight off inflammation.
Sleep Helps You Look Younger
Not only does getting enough sleep help you live longer, but it will also keep you looking younger longer. Your skin cells – and all cells – are repaired while you sleep. Cellular aging speeds up when you do not get enough sleep and wrinkles will appear earlier in life without it.
Your brain is also affected by how long you sleep each night. A lack of sleep leads to problems with the brain’s ability to store memories – leading to increased forgetfulness. Being tired all the time also leads to an inability to focus and solve problems. During sleep, the brain naturally removes toxins that accumulate during the day. If not removed, the brain will be damaged, cells will die, and it could lead to Alzheimer’s and other related problems.
Sleep apnea is another quite serious problem. Often revealed by snoring and being overweight, this problem can shorten the life by 10 to 15 years – if untreated. Because breathing stops multiple times through the night, the lack of oxygen causes cells to die throughout the body – including the organs. It will also leave you feeling tired all the time.
Getting Better Sleep
To sleep more – and increase your longevity, there are some steps you can take. They include:
- Stop using electronics about half an hour before going to bed.
- Do not drink caffeinated drinks or alcohol near bedtime.
- Get regular exercise.
- Lower the thermostat at night to make the room cool.
- Make your bedroom as dark as possible while sleeping.